According to a new poll by Public Policy Polling, Donald Trump continues to be the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. The billionaire businessman has 26% support among Republican voters. He’s followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 19%.
In PPP’s last poll from early October, Carson had 17% and Trump 27%.
This is a positive development for those who want Trump to fail, but it’s a far cry from the inevitable Trump collapse many experts predict. If one thing is clear, it’s that he certainly has staying power. That doesn’t mean he will actually win, but he certainly has a better chance than most.
The two frontrunners are followed by Ted Cruz, who’s positively surging. Six weeks ago, Cruz was at 7% according to PPP; he’s now at 14%.
The reason? Voters who describe themselves as “very conservative” or as “tea partiers” are flocking to him. He’s now leading the field among the former, “with 29% to 24% for Trump and 22% for Carson.” Among the latter, he’s ahead with “26% to 23% each for Carson and Trump.”
In other words, per PPP, Cruz “is definitely the candidate headed in the right direction with the right at this time.”
There is only one other candidate who has seen a shift of more than two points over the last six weeks. Who, you ask? Jeb! Bush, the man who the GOP establishment told us was the inevitable nominee. Sadly for the Bush dynasty, their anointed one is going down rather than up:
That’s Jeb Bush who’s headed in the wrong direction — his 5% level of support is only half of the 10% that he had in October. And Bush just continues to get more unpopular — only 27% of GOP primary voters see him favorably to 50% with a negative opinion.
Even moderate Republicans have had it with the Florida governor. According to PPP, he now has a 23/52 favorability with them. Among all Republican voters, his favorability is 27/50.
To sum up: Jeb’s done.
If establishmentarians want one of their own to win, they’d better switch to Marco Rubio. The Florida senator is in third place with 13%, and his favorability rating is significantly better than Jeb’s: 55/25. When voters have to choose between Rubio and one of the other top contenders, he also performs much better than his mentor: although he narrowly loses to Ben Carson (43% to 42%) and Donald Trump (46% to 44%), he beats Ted Cruz (38% to 43%). Considering that Jeb is stuck at 5% when people are asked for their first and second choice, it’s clear he doesn’t stand a chance against any of them. The GOP’s establishment better pay attention.
Lastly, the poll once again confirms that Rand Paul’s campaign is dead. He’s still stuck at 2%.
That’s one point less than John Kasich. It doesn’t get much worse than that, especially considering the fact that Rand is generally well-respected and even admired. I can’t say the same about Kasich: the Ohio governor has appeared rude and annoying, at best.